Women's Volleyball Blog: Katherine Knox

Oct. 14, 2009

This season different members of the 2009 Cardinal Women's Volleyball team will send in their thoughts on the season and how the team is progressing. Check back soon for a new update!

After starting out the season with three difficult matches on the road, I will be the first person to say, 'There's no place like home.' In my own entirely unbiased opinion (and by that I mean completely biased, in an 'at-the-age-of-three-I-wanted-to-be-a-Stanford-Dollie' sort of way), playing in Maples is a huge weight off our shoulders as we step on the court.

We came back from the L.A. schools on a high, using our first victories over ranked teams to our advantage during practice last week. From the sidelines (I'm out with an injury to the navicular bone in my foot, but am working back into it!) I could tell that the newfound confidence and spirit was contagious, and we spent the week planning ahead for the powerhouse Washington schools (my preparation involves hours of physical therapy, bike sprints, and stationary passing reps). Between episodes of Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, The Office, Desperate Housewives, and Entourage (seriously, I never watch TV, how did THAT happen? No wonder I'm behind in my reading... kidding, mom and dad... kidding...) I watched film on Washington State and Washington in my room with Katherine Sebastian, who lives in the room above me in my dorm. During the Pac-10 season we are given DVDs of film clips or entire matches of the teams that we are going to play in the upcoming weekend. We watch (usually in pairs) and take notes on what their tendencies are and what we should do against them in all aspects of the game.

When Friday rolled around, we plopped down on the couches in the locker room after a quality Jimmy V's special-made delicious pregame meal and talked about our ideas for the impending match. We then headed into the gym for a half-hour long warm-up/practice that we call 'Serve and Pass', where we jam to some Miley, Britney (blast-from-the-past-style), and Soulja Boy (Fact. It happened...). After a half-hour long break after Serve and Pass, we headed out onto the court, both mentally and physically prepared to take on the Cougars.

We handled set one, but then gave ourselves a scare after dropping set 2. After a composed and rebuilding meeting in the locker room at the break, we returned and put another W down in the books. A little comedic relief came in the form of a trivia question during a timeout in set 3, which asked 'Which current player's mother is a former Stanford tennis player', with a prize offering at the marketing table for a correct answer. Needless to say, my mom was mortified, yet my dad seemed to find it quite entertaining... (Yup, I'm one of the team's notable 'Stanford Brats').

Saturday came later than usual, as most of us took advantage of our day to sleep in (I woke up at 11 a.m., a good 2 and a half hours later than my daily routine calls for). We didn't have to be at Maples until around 3:30 p.m. for our pregame meal, so I spent what I had left of the early afternoon walking around campus taking pictures for the photography class I am taking with 'Coach' Foluke. I met up with the rest of the team at Jimmy V's and, surprise, surprise, repeated the 'meal-film-serve-and-pass-break-warmup-match' ritual.

I would say we came into the Washington match a little more nervous than we'd been going into the Washington State match, as we left the court Friday night a little less than satisfied with our performance. The odd taste in our mouths was not quelled after the first set, which we dropped after a few streaks from the powerful UW servers. The second set put us on the side of some of our most loyal fans, comprised of the parent section, the Stanford men's volleyball team, some girls from my dorm, including my roommate from the women's basketball team (shoutout, Hannah Donaghe!), and of course, the notorious Sheila (I heard through the grapevine that she dominated the dance contest during the 2nd set break? You go girl...). It took some fighting (the brick wall that was Jessica Walker and Alex Fisher on the block combined with the not-so-secret-but-still-unstoppable Janet Okogbaa on the offensive line), and we came out on top, taking Washington's undefeated record (set-wise) from them before heading back into the locker room in a frenzy.

The Huskies weren't giving up without a fight though, and we split the 3rd and 4th sets, taking us into a riveting 5th set. I can honestly say that I've never experienced a more spirited match in Maples, even in the 19 years that I've been in attendance (there may have been one back in the early 90's, but that time is unfortunately lost on me). We were lucky to take the victory, and, as Coash Dunning would emphasize, 'defend our court'. After a quick dance with the band and shoutout to our fans, we lined up along the edge of the court for an autograph session while we basked in the glory of what had just transpired.

We took the rest of the weekend off, free until weights on Monday evening. We resumed practice Tuesday (which I got to participate in! limited, of course...), and can't wait to head up to Eugene on Thursday evening to take on our next opponents, the Beavs and Ducks. We will, of course, miss our home crowd. Let's just say there's nothing quite like the combination of a perfectly tailored warm-up CD and a rendition of 'All Right Now' to pump up the 'Card'. Thanks to everyone who came out to support us!


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